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TopTropicals logoCall us: 866-897-7957— rare tropical plants for home and garden

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Ordering plants by mail

How big is the risk?

We try to provide our customers with the largest and healthiest plants we have at the moment. We are proud to admit that Top Tropicals has become a very respectful sourse of a good quality plants on the Internet. For independent opinions about our products and services you may refer to various Garden Forums (Garden WatchDog, GardenWeb, etc.) and read what people say about us.

If this is your first time when you order plants by mail, you have to realize that no matter how good the company is (see tips about buying plants online), you still take a certain risk due to possible problems during transportation. According to our Guarantees, we can not be responsible for any damage occured during transportation, and you have to realize that by ordering live plant by mail, you have a risk of damaging it, although very little.
Our experience proved that less than 1% of plants happen to be badly stressed or damaged, most of those still make it; and 99% or more of the plants we ship survive the trip and recover very soon. However, be realistic! Many people who buy plants mail-order can't get them in their local stores which of course would be easier: no transportation - no stress - no loss. However, sometimes we find a rare plant that we were looking for (for years!) so far away, and we take a risk for it's trip!

The plant is a live creature. Imagine youself (or a little kitten) trapped in a box for a few days without light, fresh air, food and water, while somebody keeps pushing, throwing, kicking the box back and forth, up and down. Scary, isn't it? Years ago, before we started this business, we could hardly believe that any plant can survive like this. However, our experience proved that plants can take a certain amount of stress without serious damage.

  1. Light
    Usuially 4-6 days in a dark doesn't hurt the plant. Possible problems: dropping leaves (it often happens with bougainvilleas). PLant it according to instructions and allow a few days for buds and maybe 2-3 weeks for new leaves to grow. Don't overwater: no leaves - no evaporation, your plant doesn't need much water without leaves.

  2. Water
    Some plants can stay healthy for weeks without watering, if they are kept in dark. No light - no evaporation.

  3. Roots stress
    Normally we pull plants out of the pots, toss of extra soil and wrap rootball in plastic film to retain water in the soilmix. Upon arrival, you re-pot the plant. All these procedures create extra stress on root system. You should keep your plant in a protected location away from direct sunlight untill it's root system recovers (1-2 weeks, sometimes more).

  4. Physical damage
    It doesn't happen often. We wrap plants in hard kraft paper, secure it to the box walls with tape so it won't move, and fill out the box with styrofoam peanuts. All of these provide maximum safe transpostation. We do our best. Does the delivery service? Unfortunatelly, sometimes they don't, and it is beyond our control. In case of serious damage, only the carrier can be responsible for it. If it's just a broken branch or even part of a stem - just let it grow, take care of your plant and it will respond to your love. We understand your frustration if damage occurs, and usually offer our customers a discount or a free plant with his/her next order.


From our experience...

...One customer complained that he didn't receive his order placed 2 weeks ago. We checked the delivery confirmation number. It said it was delivered. In course of investigation it was discovered that the mail-man left a package by mailbox that was next to a garbage can. Waste Service picked up both garbage and the package... The customer was reimbursed by Postal Service for the order cost...

This Stephanotis took a trip of 34 days long!

...Our customer ordered it and left for a vacation, she completely forgot about her order! After she didn't pick up her package from the Post Office for a few weeks, it was returned to sender (us). We opened the box and of course we saw a dry stick. However, Tatiana gave it a chance, planted back in a pot and placed in shade, and forgot about it again, being sure it won't make it... We found this plant in 3 weeks with new leaves growing!..

These Jasmines Sambac travelled for 3 weeks

...(It was a wrong address case). When we packed them, they were nice and blooming. Of course they don't look as fresh here, but even after losing some leaves they will definitely recover...

...One customer has sent us the plant back (without contacting us) saying it looks wilted to him and he wants to try another one. He stuck it in a box without any wrapping. It was Cuphea Ignea. The plant arrived to us completely dry and looked like herbarium. Again Tatiana gave it a chance, and now after a few weeks it looks fresh and healthy again, starting to bloom. That customer even didn't bother to water it...


...Jean received a wilted Cordia Lutea on April 7 and was very dissappointed, she sent us a photo of the plant upon arrival. We suggested to give it some time to recover, and in 3 weeks we received a positive update from her with a new picture! Congratulations with your green thumb, Jean!..

"You had asked for an update on that Cordia lutea that I had ordered several weeks ago. It seems to be recovering well and looks like a happy little tree. I have attached a picture of it in the small pot in which it was planted (so as not to overwhelm the root system). It will be planted in a larger pot very soon.

Again, thank you!
Jean Exnicios"


Cananga Fruticosa

These two plants of Cananga on the photos travelled 9 days because of the wrong address provided. They look pretty much stressed out but still have good chances to survive under a proper care. Even some flowers didn't drop off.

A funny experience

One of our customers ordered Litchi tree plus mango collection (3 trees), but upon arrival she said it was only one plant in the box...
"...I received the Lychee tree yesterday--it looks healthy and beautiful. I ordered 3 other trees with that order, and I'm not sure whether they should've come with that order or not..."
We were confused because our records showed we shipped all 4 trees, and the registered box weight showed 4 plants, we felt like we were crazy... Next day she wrote to us:
"Don't worry, you're not crazy, my husband is. He said the box was small containing only the one plant, then packed up the box and took it to work to recycle the packing material. Around 6 PM tonight he unpacked it, and, yep, there were all of the trees. I'm really, really sorry for causing any concern, and I'll be sure to do the unpacking next time. The plants are beautiful, they shipped promptly, your service was
great, and I'm really embarrassed..."

Please, make sure to unpack the whole package!!!

Cananga odorata

Growing rare plants is fun but takes both time and effort.
Please be patient with your new patients! Good luck!

Read more about establishing plants ans problem solving

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